Risk it all, or live a lie?
I'm pretty sure my wife is cheating on me. I was (for genuine reasons) holding her phone when someone sent an explicit text to her.
Since then I've sneakily checked her phone (wrong I know but please don't judge me) and seen numerous messages between her and an ex practically confirming my suspicions. He seems to be doing the running but she is happily playing along
I've got no evidence they've actually met but they certainly discussed it.
I really don't know what to do, I love my wife and don't really want my marriage to end. But if I confront her what if that's what happens? (He's married too so unlikely to run off together)
So I'm scared to confront her, but me knowing and not saying anything is doing my head in and making me feel worthless. I'm aware of my faults and why she might cheat on me, but still dont think it's right. any advice will help please. Thanks
Your wife is, in fact, cheating on you already by involving herself with her ex via explicit text messages. If she has the need to go behind your back, then it means that your marriage is in trouble regardless of who she texts or sees. Her actions have betrayed the trust of your relationship. The same applies to her ex who is betraying his marriage and his spouse.
Rather than beat yourself down, you need to discuss with her the reasons why. Once you do this, then you have a choice as to try and repair your marriage through counseling etc or divorce her and find someone who, regardless of your faults, respects you and your marriage vows together. It's useless being married and loving someone who can't or won't 'walk beside you'.
And also, Sam Shandi, you shouldn't *need* to 'ask her phone' what she herself should be electing to tell you. You're allowed to protect yourself and your emotional welfare - entitled to information with which to do so - especially whenever the person normally lifelong charged with that mutual duty is deliberately neglecting or failing to. So - who's fault was that, then? Were you looking just because you're a standard, insecure control-freak? No, you weren't. You looked because you were put into a position of neither your choosing nor doing, where you felt compelled to and where it was the only self-preservationist, sensible thing to do (bar confronting her, obviously).
In your position, she would have done EXACTLY the same and she knows it.
I will not comment on what you have done until now. But maybe you can pull her out a bit before a full confrontation. First, did she and her ex have children or and other reasn to communicate? Do you have an ex? Children?
Depending on those answers, try some hypothecial questions. Examples (you pick your own): What if I called my ex for (you supply a reason)? Have you ever considered an open relationship? Are you as open and honest with me as you want me to be with you? What kind of thing is OK to keep from each other?
Thanks for the replies everyone, sure there's good advice in there somewhere but my heads so all over the place don't know what to do.
What hurts just as much is from the contents of the messages it's obvious they've been talking about stuff I do which annoys her, why couldn't she just talk to me about it??
IF I confront her and we end up splitting up I know there's very little chance of me finding someone else, and was so lonely before we met I'm almost desperate not to go back to that. But appreciate that's not a good enough reason to stay quiet about it. Maybe I should just leave my phone unattended on this thread. Lol
Thanks again people
Are you really so bad that you couldn't find someone else? Are you a modern Elephant Man? You see, I don't believe you couldn't find someone else. I also believe that your current situation is pretty lonely and miserable. Would it really be worse being alone?
You need to think about "self respect". Not having that is miserable, having it is much better.
Fair points, and thanks for the reply. Guess my self esteem / respect is quite low. My heads telling me to man up and face things and my hearts telling me to put up and shut up. Cheers anyway, really helps having somewhere to discuss it.
SAM sooner or later you're going to have to address this situation. I know the holidays are around the corner so your probably thinking this isn't a good time. Unless something blows up between you and her maybe you could keep it low key until after the holidays.
Plus it could possibly give you enough time to get a game plan together. :-D
Actually, before the Holidays offers some advantage. Everyone wants things to be good, even her. You could approach her telling her that you have not specific reason but you have been FEELING like your relationship is slipping away. You know it's natural over time unless the two of you make efforts to make it otherwise. You want to make those efforts. Tell her how great she is and that you are willing to discuss anything that could make you each happier and better. Let her know that communicating openly and honestly is the first key. Keep the focus on feelings and reject any counter arguments about logic and/or maturity. It is how you feel. How does she feel?
Be prepared. She may suggest things that will be very uncomfortable. You have to discuss them and find ways to make you both comfortable. For example, she may want to open your marriage. You need to know about that (polyamory, swinging, etc.) and know how people make those work. Be prepared with sources that you can read or listen together (wegottathing.com has a bunch of references for swinging) I'm not saying she will suggest anything like that. I'm just suggesting that you be ready so you can control your emotions.
Rather than let your imagination go haywire in assuming the worst, I would just be honest and tell her how it happened (you becoming privy), and NOT act apologetic about it, nor even entertain the topic, and just keep the focus on the actual (cough! - APPARENT) relationship crime (hers) rather than the 'inappropriate act' (yours). It'd be like apologising for having got blood on her shoes after her having (again, seemingly) stabbed you in the gut with a 12-inch knife. Don't like the consequence called arterial fountain and ruined shoes? DON'T STAB or do things that get you mistaken for a nasty stabber. End of.
That she's *complaining* about you to him confirms to me that she's NOT cheating, that what she's ACTUALLY doing is a Russian Spy job, using *his* less-than-platonic interest in her in order to provide him with the motivation to act as her personal agony uncle and source of male insight INTO YOU. And then along with that ("buy one, get one free"), not exactly keeping her mobile and contents under lock and key.
(You try it, try failing to manage to keep the contents of your mobile completely non-accessible to eyes other than your own. Come ON, it's hardly rocket-science, is it. For starters, it's called a PIN code! So - *actions*!...a large part of her wanted you to see....which doesn't exactly say much for this guy's level of insight and help, does it.
...And nor does working out a pattern of contact and its timing, whereby you can anticipate a message being imminent ("hold this and hold it RIGHT NOW!"))
*She's* the one who can't bring herself to confront. And you've caught her 'infection' ('communicated' to you using the language of behaviour). So if *she's* scared to bring stuff up from under the table then what does that tell you? Answer: *she's* scared to do too much damage to the relationship...more than you, in fact. So instead, she provokes *you* into being the one to have to do it, by (subconsciously) giving you the means ("hold my phone for a while, will you?") to be subjected to that provocation. See it?
I repeat, it is not hard to start an affair via text and keep it a total and utter secret from your spouse. Actions, this case failure, speak.
So she's doing some of the ACTIONS that a bona fide cheater will do, going into cheater *territory*, but whereby her other actions contradict thus show a different aim/intent to the former. And it's called, 'You're a bloke - HELP MEEE!' (to him, despite he thinks that means he's in with a chance...unless he's using her as his own agony aunt?) and 'Houston, we have a problem - LOOK, see for yourself - SAY SOMETHING!' (to you).
So that's why he-, not 'seems' - *is* - doing all the ROMANTICALLY-aimed running to her mere Free Lessons In Men/This Man In Particular running.
So you have choices: [a] confront, tackle, get sorted, [b] wait, say nothing, and thereby eventually force her automatically to have to be a big girl and approach you directly with whatever complaints, confusions, worries/paranoias or doubts she may have about you/your feelings towards her/the relationship, rather than manipulate you into having the desperate urge to do it. But Option B is obviously  a self-made torture chamber depending on how long it takes her to finally bite the potentially-contentious conversational bullet;  doesn't teach her to face her fear about in-future raising issues with you the direct and healthy way without fear of her head spontaneously self-combusting [- sarcasm].
You can't *both* be chickens - season for 'em or not. ;-p *Someone's* going to have to be the 'cut-the-crap' merchant.
Trouble is, as I say, if that issue topic-'raising' behaviour of hers works, she could end up relying on it again the next time and the next, meaning, always acting-out and waiting for you to notice and do the approaching instead of her just asking for or even demanding a pow-wow. The thing to do, then, once you've got to the bottom of why she's become so desperate and at-a-loss that she'd basically resort to doing a one-woman-one-customer, market research job on the high street, her and her silly clipboard + Bic biro, is to make her agree that NEXT time something big (or banked-up run of little things) is bothering her, to either come to you and just trust you and your strength of feelings enough to spit it out *or* write you a letter/email. But that, as OTR correctly intimates, relies on you NOT "punishing" her and putting her off when she does or else you'll defeat your own object and never see an end to such silly method of feedback-ing and flag-waving.